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Golden girls Simone Blum and DSP Alice World Champions in Tryon

Sunday, 23 September 2018
FEI World Equestrian Games 2018

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson. Simone Blum with her gold medal, Martin Fuchs with his silver and Steve Guerdat with his bronze. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Not touching a pole over the five rounds of jumping at the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 in Tryon, Simone Blum and DSP Alice brought home the gold to Germany on Sunday afternoon following spectacular sport. After disappointment in the team final, Switzerland came back strong to take silver and bronze after fantastic performances from Martin Fuchs on Clooney and Steve Guerdat on Bianca. 

Alan Wade’s first round course counted thirteen fences set at 1.65m and included a triple combination at 4abc with two tall, wide oxers coming in and a vertical out. Some medal dreams finished here, as was the case on the line from the open water at seven followed by six short strides to a vertical-oxer combination. 

As first to go in round one, Colombia’s Carlos Lopez Lizarazo and Admara (Padinus x Murano) made it look deceptively easy with a beautiful clear inside the time allowed that was set to 72 seconds. Seven riders later, USA’s Laura Kraut made the home hopes of a medal rise when producing a fabulous clear round on Zeremonie (Cero x Quick Star) to take the lead with her overall score of 9.87 points. With nine to go, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat – the winner of the first qualifier – piloted Bianca (Balou du Rouet x Cardento) to a beautiful clear round too, to remain on his score of 8 points. 

It was hard to hide the disappointment for the hosts, when home favourites McLain Ward and Clinta (Clinton x Lord Pezi) – sitting 5th coming in – lowered the back rail on the oxer at 4a, falling down the list to sit 7th ahead of round two on 10.08 points. Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca was also unlucky when Irenice Horta (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Diamant de Semilly) dipped a toe in the water as her only fault to set them back four points to 9.19 pushing in behind Guerdat.

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Simone Blum and DSP Alice claimed gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 in Tryon. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

With the pressure on, Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs and Clooney (Cornet Obolensky x Ferragamo) entered the ring in their bronze position. Although keeping it exciting in the combination at 8ab, Fuchs did a tremendous job piloting the grey gelding to a clear round to keep on his score of 4.68. 

Austria’s Max Kühner also continued to impress on his Chardonnay (Clarimo x Corrado I). Although rubbing the back pole on the oxer at 11, the two managed to keep it together to cross the finish line on a clean sheet to take the lead with their overnight score of 3.97. 

DSP Alice (Askari x Landrebell) has jumped absolutely amazing throughout the entire championship, and yet again looked untouchable in round one to make it look like a walk in the park with Germany’s Simon Blum in the saddle. The pair finished with another clear, sticking to their lead and score of 2.47 points – making it very exciting and tight on top ahead of the last round in Tryon. 

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Silver went to Martin Fuchs and Clooney. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Twelve of the 25 horse-and-rider combinations from round one moved on to the second, where the top three would get a shake-up. 

Yet again, Alan Wade’s twelve fence track was big, wide and demanding. Five of the pairs cleared the fences, but only one horse-and-rider combination managed to stay inside the time allowed. 

Carlos Lopez Lizarazo was the first to show the way, jumping with only a time penalty on Admara climbing his way up to 5th individually for Colombia. McLain Ward’s Clinta made light work of the track – also recording a time penalty to unfortunately finish just outside the medals in 4th. Neither Laura Kraut nor Lorenzo De Luca could keep on a clean sheet, but as next to go Steve Guerdat showed everybody how it should be done to produce a double clear going into the lead with his overall score of eight on the breath-taking Bianca.

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Steve Guerdat and Bianca climbed up on the last day to take the bronze. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Guerdat’s compatriot Martin Fuchs was next in, and despite the pressure he kept his cool clearing the fences – only adding two time faults to his and Clooney’s score and going into the lead with his 6.68 points overall. 

Fuchs’ round would put some serious pressure on the two to come. Kühner could not have one rail down, while Blum could afford herself a rail but no time fault on top. Unfortunately for Kühner however, it all fell apart when two poles hit the ground, dropping him down the ranks to 6th overall. 

Not being near a pole throughout the championships, expectations were high for DSP Alice and Blum. And the two delivered yet again, making it all look effortless as they cleared their way around with only a time penalty to cross the finish line as World Champions. 


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